|Julian Malone, Corey Davis, Dylan Carter, Cameron Carlisle, Steve Stewart & Malik Johnson|
Although the numbers were a little smaller than normal for the spring event, there definitely was no shortage of talent at Otterbein University last Saturday for the spring edition of Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase. Not only were there some of the more established players in the gym, we had the opportunity to get our first look at some really talented kids.
Late in day on Saturday, Julian Malone (5’9/PG/2018/Westerville) put on a show with his ability to score the ball. In fact, at one point, Malone scored at least 14 straight points. Highly skilled with ample athleticism, Malone had the gym buzzing. Cameron Carlisle (5’10/SG/2018/Gahanna) had a breakout season for Gahanna Lincoln High School this past year as he lead his freshman team to an undefeated season and a tournament championship. Carlisle’s play on Saturday was just as impressive as he took command of his team. He scored the ball, distributed to his teammates and demonstrated an all-around game. We were also really impressed with Alex Johnson (6’4/WF/2017/Cincinnati) who has good size, great footwork and can step outside and knock down a jump shot. Cory Davis (6’4/SG/2018/Cincinnati) arrived late, but his performance was right on time. We’ve seen Davis play on several occasions and he continues to get better every time we seem him. Davis can either get to the cup or he can shoot from the perimeter. One of the most athletic players we saw all day was Dylan Antoine (6’0/P/SG/2015/Akron). In addition, Antoine plays hard and has a consistent motor. Some of the other standouts in the high school division included: Steve Stewart, Malik Johnson, Dylan Carter and Collin Woodside.
|K. Martin, Z. Loveday, D. Blanton, R. Hampton, I. Kennedy, R. Bryant, C. Painter & M. Key|
We saw him 2 weeks ago in Cleveland and were very impressed, but the work he put in on Saturday was nothing short of amazing. As was the case 2 weeks ago, Kaleb Martin (5’5/PG/2019/Green) had the gym buzzing. We knew he was a wizard with the rock and we knew he had great vision and was a willing passer, but we were amazed with Martin’s ability to shoot from deep with great accuracy. If that wasn’t enough, Martin is also a great defender who plays extremely hard. Pound for pound, Martin has convinced us he is one of the top 2019 floor generals in the state! You know the old saying, “you can’t teach size.” Well, Zach Loveday (6’7/C/2020/Gallipolis) has plenty of that, particularly as just a 7th grader. He’s not just big, but Loveday demonstrated the ability to knock down the 12 footer with consistency. He still has a lot of work to do and will need to continue to develop his thin frame, but we would not be surprised to see Loveday as a high major prospect in a few years.
Two weeks ago at the Buckeye Prep Winter Showcase Ronald Hampton (5’7/PG/2019/Huber Heights) was one of the best players at the event. On Saturday, Ronald Hampton was one of the best players at the event. The last time we saw him play we were impressed with his ability to score; this week we were impressed with his on ball defense and toughness. Oh yea, he still scored on Saturday, but his motor and athleticism are equally as impressive. Hampton scored a team-high 9 points in the all-star game. We also saw Jason Morton (6’6/C/2020/IN) for the first time. We had heard some good things about him, and his play on Saturday confirmed what we had heard. Great size, strong, finishes around the cup and moves well for his size. Morton’s play garnered him a spot in the all-star game where he finished with a game-high 12 points. We had not seen Russell Cooper (5’5/PG/2019/Akron) before, but the strong, athletic guard was really impressive. Although Cooper was quick and relentlessly attacked the basket, he played under control and made good decisions with the ball. There were several quality bigs at the event and that list should include Michael Key (6’4/PF/2019/Toledo). Key is a big, strong lefty who is aggressive around the cup and finishes with contact. Ryan Bryant (6’3/SG/2019/Ironton) is not a “big,” but he is big and handles the ball as well as many of the smaller guards we have seen. Great footwork and his ability to pass the ball at his size separated him from other shooting guards on Saturday.
Isaiah Kennedy (5’8/PG/2020/Beavercreek) had another impressive showing on Saturday as evidenced by his all-star nod and Top 5 Award. Kennedy’s skill set coupled with his size gives him an advantage over smaller guards. When his motor is running and he chooses to play closer to the bucket, Devonte Blanton (6’3/PF/2020/Cleveland) can be a problem. Good size, strong and skilled, Blanton has all the tools to be a star. He has proven he can hit the outside shot, but he can make more money right now finishing near the rim. The younger brother of Delvon Roe, a Michigan State standout, Blanton has the genetics and raw materials to be a good one. Darrion Henry (6'3/PF/2020/Cincinnati) logged in another solid performance in Columbus last weekend. In Cincinnati a couple of weeks ago Henry impressed us with his size, athleticism and ability to get up and down the court. Henry should be a great addition to Malcom Walter’s Kings James squad this season. He’s only a 6th grader, but Noah Peeoples (5’8/PF/2021/Akron) played up in the 7th/8th grade divisions and more than held his own. He was still strong in the paint and was still able to finish against bigger and stronger defenders, but his perimeter shot surprised us. It’s no wonder he is virtually unstoppable at the 6th grade level! We also really liked Alex Pfriem (6’3/SG/WF/2019/West Chester), Andre O’Danial (5’7/PG/2020/Kettering), Payton Harris (6’1/PF/2019/Springfield), Kyle Adkins (5’10/SG/2019/Ironton), Jake Younkin (5’2/PG/2020/Loveland) and Sammy Anderson (5’8/PG/2020/Dayton).
|S. Jones, D. James, C. Livingston, N. Rittinger, Q. Clark & P. Daniels|
For the second time in as many weeks we had the opportunity to evaluate Chris Livingston (5’7/PF/2022/Akron) and his play on Saturday proved that he was who we thought he was, a big time prospect. Although he competed against 6th graders, Livingston’s length and athleticism were still evident. Livingston is fluid and runs the floor like a deer. His consistent play warrants a statewide ranking, and national recognition should not be far behind. Sean Jones (4’10/PG/2020/Reynoldsburg) had another big weekend. Everywhere we went people were talking about the dynamic PG. Jones has the ball on a string and has a box full of dribble moves he use to get by his defender. With continued work and development, Jones should be a great looking prospect going forward. We had not seen him before, but Malaki Branham (5’9/WF/2021/Columbus) is a prospect worth keeping an eye on. Long, athletic with a high motor best describes his game right now. In addition, we were really impressed with his ability to attack the basket and finish with a bump at a high rate. From what we saw, Branham has the potential to be ranked among the best in the state. Noah Rittinger (5’4/PG/2021WV) was one of the better young guards at the event. Rittinger does a great job of running a team, he makes great decision with the rock and he can shoot and pass at a high level.
We saw him in Lima several weeks ago and his performance in Columbus was equally impressive. Quincy Clark (5’0/PG/2021/Gahanna) has an elite handle; he easily gets into the paint and is adept at creating his own shot or good looks for his teammates. One of the better lead guards in the showcase, Clark has a bright future with continued work and development. The showcase was loaded with elite guards, and two such guards were Derrick James (4’0/PG/2020/Columbus) and Khalil Luster (4’6/PG/2020/Lima), both of who are highly skilled, quick as lighting and excel at finding open teammates. John “The Show” Mobley did it again on Saturday. Although the kid is only a 3rd grader, and is forced to play up against elite 4th, 5th and 6th graders, the kid finds a way to separate himself from the pack. I guess it doesn’t really matter how big you are, if you can handle that rock, shoot the ball with range and make good decisions you can compete with anybody. Mobley’s reputation and national ranking are well deserved! We have to add Tae Perie (5’3/PG/2021/Akron) to the list if elite guards at the event. Perie, a lefty, played with poise, showed great vision and was strong. We have to acknowledge the play of Patrick Daniels (5’2/W/PF/2021/Columbus). Daniels displayed great footwork, nifty post moves and the ability to finish at a high rate. For his efforts, Daniels was selected to the all-star game where dropped a game-high 14 points and received Top 5 honors. Other standouts included Travon Jackson (5’5/PG/2021/Columbus, Azzon Daniels (5’2/PG/2021/Columbus), Jaden Hawkins-White (5’4 SG/2021/Columbus), Damaryea Gadson (4’11/PG/2021/Akron), Collin Albert (5’3/PG/2021/Cleveland) and Trey Robinette (5’3/SG/2021/Cincinnati).
Top 5 Award Winners
(HS) Dylan Carter, Corey Davis, Cameron Carlisle, Steve Steward and Malik Johnson. (7th/8th Grade): Kaleb Martin, Isaiah Kennedy, Ryan Bryant, Chris Painter and Michael Key. (4th/5th/6th Grade): Derek James, Quincy Clark, Patrick Daniels, Trey Robinette, and Sean Jones.
Other Players to Watch
Derick Jones, Caden Johnson, D’Marco Howard, Nick Morris, Jordan Pomroy, Lucas Thopmson, Noah Thomas, Arian Smith, Tyrus Tony, Derick Jones, PrinceDemonte Antoino, Trey Mack, Anthony Garrett, Carlton Wilks, Malik Lewis, Omar Abuhaamdeh, Devin Myers, Evan Leist, Micah Wallace, Jared Moman, David Miller, Braylon Wenger, Grant Huffman, Luke Frazier, Chris Painter, Dominiq Penn, Josh Thomas, Austin Speed, Josiah Mobley, Elijah English, Jarious Jones, Will Miller,